First let me say that I really enjoy decorating my own house. I think it is fun and a challenge to tackle, and I love a good challenge (Must be why I married Will… JK. He is the best ever, in the whole world. Since we met in China I am qualified to say that). Anyway, as our marriage, and consequently our move-in date were impending we began brainstorming about what we wanted our house to look like. And we both really like a more vintage style. We stumbled on this awesome coffee table that would go really well in our small house on Pinterest, and fell in love. Our hearts were set on making it.
If you like it and live with in a couple hours of Lexington, we will make one for you! Just leave a comment.
Yes, You will have to pay, but you will get an inexpensive and unique coffee table!
We shopped around and found that the best deal on unfinished apple crates is at JoAnn Fabrics. Then we waited till my mom had 40% off AND a 50% off coupons. We got each crate for about $7. Total I would say that we spent $50 on our coffee table. That is a really cheap coffee table!
Will’s Updated Instructions (9 January, 2014):
First of all, I have to apologize for not updating this sooner. This blog is supposed to be a team effort and I fail miserably at that… other than supplying Devra with my hubster seal of approval on the delicious food she makes.
Without further ado, updated instructions:
So here is everything that we bought/everything you will need
- 4 crates (can be bought at Michaels or Walmart) – I would not pay more than $10 per crate…
- Stain or paint (whatever finish you decide to use)
- Wood screws, 1.25” long
- Wood screws, 1.5” or 2″long
- 2 – 8’ 2×4 boards
Now for how we made our own awesome coffee table:
Step 1- Stain everything before you put it together.
There are a lot of areas that will be very difficult to stain if you don’t just go ahead and stain the entire crate at the beginning. I would suggest taking a scrap piece of wood and practice applying stain to it to see what it will look like. You may have to re-apply the stain for a 2nd coat if you desire a deeper color.
Devra typically handles the staining of the crates, so here is what she has to say about how we did ours:
There are so many cool ways to use tea and steel wool and such to use for awesome vintage looking wood. BUT we didn’t use any of those cool ways, because we wanted to have a black coffee table to match the rest of the furniture in our living room. So what I did was BARELY BARELY BARELY, let me say it again BARELY dipped the tip of the brush in stain and try to stretch it as far on the wood as possible. Then I had an extra brush that was dry and would stroke back in the opposite way I had stained to get off excess stain.
Step 2- Arrange the Crates
Arrange the crates so that they form a square. This will leave an open space in the middle. At this point, I would drill 3 holes in the crate and mount each crate to one another by putting a screw (the 1.5 or 2 inch screws) into each drilled holes (use the screwdriver for this) so that the table takes on its shape. See the picture below, which shows where to drill the holes.
Step 3- The Base
The base is what has changed the most since we have made several of these now. Originally, the base was made of 1×4 that were mounted together with an L-bracket. The 1×4’s split repeatedly when I tried doing it that way, so I have switched to a 2”x4” base.
To know how long to cut the 2×4 boards, measure each the side of the arranged (and screwed together) crates. Just measure one side and make the cuts. I prefer to cut my boards at 45 degree angles on the end so that you cannot see and of the rough 2×4 ends. It should look something like this:
Step 4 – Fasten the base to the crates
Do this by placing screws through the crate side strips into the 2×4 base frame. Try to get 3 screws per side.
Step 5- *OPTIONAL*
You will notice that there is not much support for the middle of the table, but this should not be an issue unless you plan to stand on the table (which I would not suggest in the first place!). If you wish, the support issue can be addressed by adding wood supports to the base frame. You will need to make a couple more 45 degree cuts to do this.
Step 6- Now there is a hole left down the center of your coffee table. Your options are:
- Start growing a tree in there and feel very green and proud of yourself.
- Use it as a secret hiding place by leaving the hole vacant and covering the opening with something with something like.
- Just cover the opening with something because you are tired of working on it and you just want to enjoy your coffee table (that’s what we did).
- Put some brackets on the inside, and then cut a piece of wood to slip down inside making it into a little “shelf” or just giving you a flat and complete top.
- Or leave it empty and put a sheet of glass over top of the coffee table to give you an even/solid surface without taking away from the appearance of the crates.
Step 7- attach wheels or legs to the bottom of the frame if you are so inclined. We have felt on the bottom of ours to protect the wood floors.
Step 8- Put the coffee table in its place and enjoy it!
For us it is perfect! It maintains the balance of modern and vintage in our front room, is small enough for our space, it is low enough that it doesn’t get in our line of vision when watching TV, and it is the perfect storage space for all our DVD’s and TV series. =)
We have had our table for over a year now, and it is holding up wonderfully! Also, we made one for a friend and it survived their cross-country move. So it might be inexpensive, but it seems to be pretty sturdy so far. I hope all the updates help!